Cookies on this website

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Accept all cookies' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. If you click 'Reject all non-essential cookies' only necessary cookies providing core functionality such as security, network management, and accessibility will be enabled. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

Despite its highly diffusible nature, the gaseous signalling molecule nitric oxide (NO) can exert specific effects within the CNS and PNS. To date, the specificity of the actions of NO remains an unsolved puzzle. There are several plausible mechanisms that might account for this specificity in the context of autonomic regulation of heart rate. NO acts at distinct levels within the autonomic nervous system to control cardiac rate, with opposing effects at different sites. We discuss factors that might contribute to this diversity of action, and conclude that the isoform of enzyme involved in producing NO, the spatial proximity of the NO source to the target, and differences in the intracellular coupling within the target cell are all crucial for encoding the functional action of NO.


Journal article


Trends Neurosci

Publication Date





626 - 631


Animals, Autonomic Nervous System, Heart, Heart Rate, Humans, Myocytes, Cardiac, Nitric Oxide, Nitric Oxide Synthase, Solitary Nucleus